Can the Mariners make the deal of the century for Juan Soto?
Reason #2: The Mariners have the money
The Seattle Mariners have not spent real money on an offensive threat since they got a heck of a deal signing Nelson Cruz to a four-year deal worth 57 million dollars. The year before, they shook the baseball world by signing Robinson Cano to a ten-year 240 million dollar deal that has really shaped where the franchise is today, for better or worse.
We’re shockingly nearing a decade since that massive deal. That means the Mariners have not spent nine figures on an offensive weapon. You can call that being careful with large contracts, but many will call it being cheap. The massive to moderate bills of Cano, Felix, Cruz, Seager, and Iwakuma are gone, and the signing of Robbie Ray doesn’t come close to matching the money spent in the 2014-2018 years.
As we saw this past off-season, with numerous talented hitters available, the Mariners failed to acquire any of them. By trading for Soto, you’ll have him in the building for two seasons, giving you two years to sell him on Seattle. The Nationals appeared to play around with Soto and it looks like it backfired.
After acquiring Soto, I’d offer him the same 13-year offer, but raise the salary to 425 million. That’d put Soto at just about 32.7 million per year, which would give him the fourth-highest AAV among all hitters in the league, sitting only behind Francisco Lindor’s $34 million in AAV, and Angels teammates Anthony Rendon at $35 million and Mike Trout’s $35.5 million. Correa is at $35.1, but with how short that deal could be, I’m not counting it.
I’d also offer him a player option after year the fifth year, allowing him to potentially be a free agent again at age twenty-nine. This would allow him to hit the open market while he’s still in his prime.
Whether you are the Dodgers or the Rays, that’s a hefty price to pay, no doubt. But with elite talents like Julio, Gilbert and Kirby years away from large paydays, there’s no reason not to break the bank on one of the best hitters baseball.